The oratory of William Hague
in Conservative orators from Baldwin to Cameron
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William Hague first came to prominence in 1977, when he addressed the Conservative Party conference at the age of 16. Here, he positioned himself as the spokesman for his generation, before telling the party where it was going wrong and what young people wanted it to do. After this brief moment in the spotlight, Hague returned to public prominence as Leader of the Opposition between 1997 and 2001. Widely recognised as an accomplished parliamentary orator Hague regularly shone at the despatch box, but proved unable to establish an effective rapport with the electorate more widely. Hague’s attempts to speak for the ‘mainstream majority’ failed, due to his inability to persuade the public that he was ‘one of them’; his representative claims were not grounded in a convincing ethos. Nonetheless in Parliament he has continued to demonstrate his ability to effectively combine logos, in the form of factual evidence and statistics, with pathos (humour), which in turn contributes to an ethos of competence.

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